Flowers and messages of love adorn the Camberwell park where a body, thought to belong to a missing local nurse, was found yesterday, December 12.
Petra Srncova, 32, is a senior nurse assistant at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital – run by the same NHS trust that manages Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. She was last seen at 7.45pm on Sunday, November 28, and was reported missing by a concerned hospital colleague last Friday, December 3.
At 11.40am on Sunday, police reported that they had found a body believed to be that of Ms Srncova in Brunswick Park, Camberwell. The body was allegedly found by a group of children in the area, but this has not been confirmed.
While the death is currently being treated as unexplained, initial enquiries by police suggest the circumstances are not suspicious.
The police have also confirmed to the News that a man who was arrested in relation to the disappearance has been bailed pending further enquiries.
“I’m so sorry you lost your life,” reads one anonymous note, left on the fence of Brunswick Park. “We will fight for justice.”
“May you fly with the angels,” reads another, left by Ms Srncova’s colleagues in Evelina Hospital.
Czech foreign minister Jakub Kulhanek said in a tweet, originally in Czech: “Very sad news: The British police unfortunately confirmed to our embassy in London this afternoon that they had found the body of a missing Czech citizen.
“The cause of death is being investigated. With regard to the family, we will not provide more information about the case. Condolences.”
Ms Srncova’s family have also been informed – although police are still awaiting formal identification of the body.
Police officers patrol the park, while a detective is going door-to-door to speak to local residents.
The officers on the scene stated that the detective was gathering information, while they patrolled to reassure locals that they were safe.
After she left the hospital two weeks ago, it is believed that Ms Srncova withdrew money from a cash machine, before getting on a bus towards Elephant and Castle.
Police believe she then changed to a new bus going towards her home in Camberwell.
MP for Camberwell and Peckham Harriet Harman gave a press conference on Saturday afternoon in which she appealed for help in finding Ms Srncova.
“I feel we’ve all got a particular responsibility to try and find her because she was away from her home country, away from her family, here working for our national health service,” she said.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ added in a statement on Saturday: “We are extremely concerned about our valued colleague Petra who is missing. We want to encourage anyone who may have any information that could help to find her to contact the police.”
Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Petra’s family at this extremely distressing time. We are shocked and saddened that this has happened in the midst of our wonderful community and to a woman who dedicated her life to looking after others at the The Evelina London Hospital.
“We have offered support to Petra’s family and will work with the police on the investigation as it continues. Council wardens are available in the area to offer reassurance to local residents. We would ask people to stay away if they can in order to give local residents peace, allow children to easily get to school, and to give the police space to find out what happened to Petra.”
The police investigation is ongoing.